Prime Minister Imran Khan will soon appoint a new head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), after the incumbent chief of the country’s premier spy agency is set to retire this month.
There were reports that Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar, the outgoing ISI director general, would be retiring on October 1 (yesterday).
However, military sources suggested that was not correct.
According to the sources, the current ISI chief has still a few days left in the office.
They, however, confirmed that he would retire sometime this month.
Following his retirement, the prime minister would appoint a new ISI director general.
Although there is no official word yet, the incoming ISI chief is likely to be picked from the recently-promoted major generals.
The officers, who were promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, include Shaheen Mazhar, Nadeem Zaki Manj, Abdul Aziz, Asim Munir, and Waseem Ashraf.
Traditionally, the coveted slot of ISI director general, considered the most powerful after the army chief’s post, goes to a three-star general with a considerable experience of working in intelligence agencies.
If this convention remains, the new ISI chief would be one of the following: Lieutenant General Manj, Lieutenant General Munir, and Lieutenant General Ashraf.
Both Manj and Munir served as military intelligence director general, while Ashraf had the experience of working in the ISI.
Defence analyst retired Lieutenant General Amjad Shoaib, who is still closely connected with the security establishment, believes that Manj and Munir are hot favourites to replace the current ISI chief.
He said a list of three lieutenant generals would be forwarded to the prime minister, who would then pick one of them.
“Intelligence background, career record, and certain other personality traits play a key role in the appointment of ISI chief,” Shoaib explained.
He said that unlike the past, this time the appointment of new ISI chief would be made without any controversy.
The reason, he cited, is because of the harmony between the civil and military leadership.
The prime minister would pick the new ISI chief based on the recommendations of the army chief, he added.
This would be the first major appointment Imran will make in the security establishment.
Within weeks of taking charge, the prime minister visited the ISI headquarters in Islamabad.
He praised the intelligence agency for its contribution in the fight against terrorism, declaring that the ISI as one of the world’s best spy agencies.
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